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  • theknottingway

Learning some Pandemic Skills

These days we are all doing our part to flatten the curve by staying home. I enjoy learning new skills, so I've decided to do just that. I jokingly call them my pandemic skills. Some are born of necessity and some are just because I'm interested. There are so many ways to accomplish this online: YouTube, blog tutorials, and Bluprint are just a few.

When I have a question about a knitting skill there are several places I check first. Tin Can Knits has a fabulous section with in-depth tutorials. I've also done an online search with the problem and Tin Can Knits (for example: "kitcheners stitch tincan knits") to get answers from their blog. Vogue Knitting and Vogue on YouTube also has excellent information. Both sites, Tin Can Knits and Vogue Knitting, are written in clear, concise language with step-by-step instructions and sometimes accompanying pictures. Tin Can Knits is especially perfect for a knitting newbie. They have their Simple Collection, a line of free patterns that tackles everything from socks to sweaters, written for those just learning to knit. If I'm looking to learn a new skill more in depth, I will research a book on the topic or sometimes I'll take a class on Blueprint, previously called Craftsy. Blueprint offers online classes that are self paced and can be reviewed as needed. This is how I got started learning to design knitting patterns. Perhaps one of these resources will help you accomplish your own pandemic skill goal.

My knitting pandemic skill is to explore Japanese knitting stitches. For my birthday last month, my husband bought me a copy of 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches: The Original Pattern Bible. It is filled with exquisite stitches designed by Hitomi Shida. Each stitch pattern has a picture and coordinating chart. The charts are written in the Japanese style which is a bit different than I'm accustomed to using. Fortunately, the book's introduction provides helpful tips and instructions on how to properly read these charts and provides a symbol guide. Admittedly, I am a bit intimidated by the perceived complexity of these charts, especially with some of the more complicated stitches; however, I also like a good challenge. I plan to make a few swatches just to play with the patterns and get the hang of reading these types of charts. Who knows what will come out of this experiment? Maybe a scarf? Something else? It will be fun nonetheless.

Another skill I am learning is how to fix my bike brakes. This skill was born out of necessity; they were so terribly squeaky! Everyone in the neighborhood could hear me coming and I didn't dare ride my bike early in the morning for fear of waking everyone up. I found a fabulous tutorial on YouTube that walked me step-by-step on what to do to fix the squeak. There were four steps I could try before having to replace my brakes. Fortunately, I had all the tools to fix them except new brakes. And you know what? I was able to do it without replacing them! No more squeaks...ok well maybe a little squeaking but so much better. It took me way longer than the man in the video, but that's to be expected when learning something new. No one is an expert the first time they try something.

The next skill I'm going to tackle is making yogurt from raw milk. I have made my own yogurt for over ten years. Up until recently I've only used pasteurized milk, however I decided to try making it from raw milk. What I didn't realize is that there is a different process that is necessary. I just did what I always did using my crockpot or instant pot, but it wasn't setting up properly. After doing some research I realized my mistake. Now that I have the proper steps to follow, hopefully I will get thick, creamy yogurt. Fingers crossed!

What about you? Do you plan on learning any pandemic skills? Let me know on my Instagram or Facebook pages.

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